Radiation Effects Testing

Radiation effects testing is critical to understanding the risks associated with the operation of electrical components in space and other radiation harsh environments. Space radiation can significantly impact the reliability of electronic equipment and systems and thereby the mission.  These effects can occur over time or even in an instant with a high-energy event and lead to the malfunction or total failure of satellites, rockets, space probes, landers and other equipment. 

 

To mitigate these risks, space electronics and the possible effects associated with space radiation should be properly evaluated and understood before the mission begins. Various test methods exist to safely and effectively check the reliability and proper function of integrated circuits and components that may be destined for space. To ensure the overall success of space-based projects, aerospace companies and contractors of all sizes benefit from radiation testing services at our approved testing facility.  This is a "learn before you launch" approach that provides a better approach to successful space missions.

 

Radiation Test Solutions, Inc. (RTS) provides state-of-the-art environments for radiation effects testing of electronic devices for aerospace applications. Our clean-room laboratory meets classification, compliance and security measures required for radiation effects testing on electronic devices.

 

RTS’ world-class team of experts provides testing for the full range of radiation effects. We have contributed to the success of hundreds of missions in both the traditional and the new space industries, including commercial and government initiatives. Working closely with electronic component manufacturers, we also provide valuable insights into RAD-hard design and qualification.

 

Space Environment Hazards to Satellites 

 

Solar particles, free-space particles and trapped particles all contribute to radiation effects and displacement damage in space. Solar particles originate from the sun and include protons and heavy ions, while free-space particles from galactic cosmic rays (GCR) are high-energy particles that come from outside the solar system. 

The radiation environment in space can come from a number of sources including natural and manmade sources. Natural sources include galactic cosmic rays, ultraviolet radiation, solar wind and solar particle events originating from our Sun. In addition, some protons and electrons get trapped in the Earth’s radiation belts. These trapped particles reside in the Earth’s magnetosphere. Other natural occurring radioactivity can be found in materials used in the spacecraft or integrated circuit design.

Manmade sources of radiation may include nuclear power sources like Radioisotope Thermoelectric Generators (RTG). Naturally, these space environment hazards pose challenges to engineers and aerospace managers deploying space systems in Earth’s orbit. 

 

Radiation Effects

 

Electronic failure or malfunction can occur due to long-term degradation caused by radiation or from intense bursts of energy from the sun. Electrical devices in space can suffer cumulative damage from either total ionizing dose (TID) effects or displacement damage dose (DDD) effects. Although space systems may be able to endure these effects for a certain period of time, the cumulative, long-term ionizing damage from protons and electrons eventually causes devices to lose functionality and break down if they are not properly RAD hardened. 

 

A different type of threat to electronics in space occurs when there is a high-energy electrical disturbance that disrupts the normal operation of a circuit. This is known as a single event effect (SEE). 

 

Single Event Effects 

 

SEEs are caused by heavy ions or protons passing through semiconductor material to deposit energy. These single event effects can be either destructive or non-destructive and increase the risk of a mission failure. To prevent this from happening, single event effect testing must be performed on the ground before a mission begins to quantify these risks and if necessary, develop a mitigation plan.  Our SEE testing and reports will aid in the appropriate selection of electronic components thereby improving the long term mission success..

 

RTS Aerospace Radiation Testing Capabilities 

 

RTS offers the full range of engineering support. Our team:

  • Provides turnkey test solutions, from assistance with RFPs to delivery of final data analysis and reports
  • Designs all fixtures, hardware and software necessary for radiation testing
  • Performs testing in-house or remotely when necessary

Our in-house capabilities include:

  • Neutron, Flash X-Ray/Prompt Dose Capabilities
  • Total Ionizing Dose (TID) and Device Testing per MIL-STD-750, MIL-STD-883, Method 1019 and ASTM F1892.
  • Enhanced Low Dose Radiation Sensitivity (ELDRS) Testing
  • 14 MeV Neutron Irradiator. Testing per MIL-STD-750 and MIL-STD-883, Method 1017
  • Radiation Lot Acceptance Testing (RLAT)
  • Focal Plane Array (FPA) Radiation, Characterization and Testing
  • Radiation Engineering and Component Qualification Planning
  • Wafer Lot Radiation Screening, Characterization, and Qualification
  • MIL-STD-750 and MIL-STD-883 Screening and Qualification of Advanced COTS Devices as well as Design Engineering for Radiation Hardened Devices.
  • Dose-rate/prompt dose – Flash X-Ray - Ion Physics FX25
  • MIL-STD-750/883; TM 1020, TM 1021, and TM 1023
  • Dose-rate/prompt dose – Flash X-Ray - Pulserad 112
  •  

Our remote testing capabilities include:

  • Heavy Ion and Proton Single Event Effects or SEE: Single Event Latch Up (SEL), Single Event Upset (SEU), Single Event Transient (SET), Single Event Burnout (SEB) and Single Event Gate Rapture (SEGR) - EIA/JESD 57, ASTM F1192
    • Dose Rate Latch-Up and Upset
    • TAMU, LBNL, NSRL, High Energy Proton Test Facilities, and others
    • (ASTM F1192 & EIA/JESD57)
    • 200+ hours used at heavy ion facilities in 2016
    • 300+ hours used at heavy ion facilities in 2017

We also provide sample preparation, using:

  • Chemical etch
  • Mechanical grind
  • Thinning to 35 micron with verification

Radiation Effects Testing Standards and Protocols

 

Radiation testing standards exist to ensure that facilities and lab services meet certain requirements including common measurement standards, reliability, safety and logistical system alignment. RTS strictly adheres to DLA test methods, standards and guidelines for testing radiation effects on electronic devices. Our clients can be confident in the knowledge that their compliance and quality standards are being met. RTS has lab suitability for:

 

  • MIL-STD 750 and 883: TM 1017, 1019, 1020, 1021, 1023, 1080.
  • ASTM F 1192.
  • EIA/JESD57.
  • ESCC 22900.
  • ESCC 25100.

 

In the remote environment of space, failure simply isn’t an option. Don’t trust your next aerospace project launch to just anyone. RTS leads the industry in aerospace radiation testing  and is staffed  by a team of world-class engineers and scientists who are fully invested in your success. 

 

RTS’ wide range of radiation effects testing services provides an affordable and convenient solution for both commercial and government industries looking to simulate the effects of ionizing radiation on electronic systems. Whether you’re a satellite manufacturer needing to qualify your design or a semiconductor provider seeking independent third-party verification of your product, RTS has the solutions you need.

Radiation Effects Testing